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Public relations is a very powerful yet mysterious art to me.One has got to display many talents when in this field, and those talents are hard to achieve when there is a clear objective. The objective being a relationship. According to the Public Relations Society of America  (PRSA) “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” To me this means, that a person or group of persons is/are in charge of creating a bonds- kind of like a “wing-man”.

A wing-man is a guy that usually helps another guy look good in front of a potential partner (girl). The wing-man is in charge of creating a good impression for his friend to get the girl to notice him. He is also in charge of handling a crisis whenever there is one, for example, if the friend who is being introduced to the girl acts rudely towards the girl usually the wing-man will step up and apologize for his friends actions. After all he was the whom introduced the two. This is very similar to what a public relation specialist does. However not just anyone can play the role of a wing-man because it requires many special attributes that not the average-Joe has.

A person who wants to be successful in this field has have to have many skills. Some of those skills are creativity, problem/critical solving skills, killer interpersonal and writing communication skills, and has got to be flexible. Flexibility comes in handy, because life throws curve balls, and it is up to a public relations specialist to handle those curve balls…well.

I believe that this class has helped me learn how I could handle life’s curve balls from a professional and personal point-of-view. Prior to this class I thought that PR specialist were just trying to ‘razzle dazzle’ people. They were trained to make the world see, how they wanted people to see the world, which although it may not be bad to think this way, this cannot always be good. This made me really uneasy. I didn’t want to feel that I was tricking people. Disheartened, I started looking at some of the blogs that I follow, and I learned that  I shared the mindset of certain journalist around the time when I was born. In the early 90’s journalist were asked to anonymously express how they felt about PR specialist. They used words like ‘pests, annoying, biased, and desperate’ when asked to describe people in PR.

whattheythinkido_pr1

Fast forward 20 years, journalist were asked to take the same survey about PR specialist and the mentality had changed. Journalist now used words like ‘good people and trusting.’ I am thankful to say that my thoughts have completely changed also, and I do not feel like I will be tricking people if I choose this to be my career. Public relations sounds like one of the most exciting jobs out there. I am glad that I stumbled upon this article because it gave me the encouragement that I needed to continue to think that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I believe that this career will keep me sharp because I will always have to know what trending around the world. I will have to stay updated on research, and reliable because I know to do the proper research and make sure that I touch all the bases.

This career will allow one to continuously grow in their field because everyday may not always be the same. There might be some easy days, nerve-wrecking days, and I-wanna-pull-my-hair-out days. I learned this from sources like Spin Sucks and PRNewser. Day in a day out some of the PR specialist had A LOT to say and other days they had very little to say. One of my favorite blogs was by Gini Rietrich where she wrote about having nothing to write about. Although she claimed she had nothing to write about she covered about seven different topics in a matter of a few sentences. This truly exemplified how powerful a PR specialist can be. Because without saying very much she shared a lot of information about several trending topics, she included links to all of her references, and she did it with such grace and style that the end result was entertaining and informational.

To be able to write and communicate in such a clear way where others could understand me and hopefully follow me is a goal of mine. Which is precisely what being a public relations specialist is, being able to be understood by a person that they follow and comprehend what you are trying to get them to understand whether that be a product, opinion, or campaign.There is no secret recipe that allows producers to know what consumers want. However, producers do have public relations people and they’re the next best thing to a secret recipe.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

“….and now I nominate Jazmin Bernal to do the #IceBucketChallenge. You have to do the challenge and donate $10 or donate $100 if you don’t partake in the challenge. YOU HAVE 24 HOURS!”

These were the most cringe-worthy words to hear this summer, two days after thinking I had bronchitis and the absolutely worst summer cold. I remember being tagged in five ice bucket challenge videos. I also remember being asked multiple times why I hadn’t done the challenge yet. I was being pressured by my friends to throw water over my head and post it on social media…I was so confused. Although I did not do a video because of my for-ever-long summer cold, I did donate $50 to the ALS foundation.

I knew what ALS was because a co-worker’s mom had passed away from it. I remember my friend telling me that her death was slow and very painful not only to her mom, but to the whole family also. So, it brought me great joy to know that so many people had taken interest in trying to find a cure for ALS. The way America and the world did so blew my mind. Hundreds and hundreds of people taking advantage of the weather, throw ice water over their heads, and donating money to the cause was BRILLIANT public relations plan. The association used simple, textbook tactics that work like magic.

The ALS association

1) got everyone’s attention with something fun, quick, and catchy

2) used the biggest medium to get their message across

and

3) used peer pressure in the best way possible

4) yet kept it simple enough to understand and left room for individual creativity

From a PR stand point this message was absolutely genius. The creator of the challenge took advantage of ALL SOCIAL MEDIA (from Twitter to Instagram and Facebook), the fact that it’s 2014 and everyone has a recording ability on their smart phones, tablets, and laptops, the time of year, and also took advantage of the fact for the most part people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

The challenge called out for “do-able” donations. It used a well-known method to get something from someone. They asked for something that could seem like A LOT (in this case $100) then they gave you an alternative (to do the challenge and only donate $10). As a psychology minor, I have learned that by using this simple tactic you could get what you want with almost no effort. This is because people would rather take the “easier” route or the one that they feel is more manageable.

The video challenge was so simple that people could make it their own. I saw really cute videos with mom and their children doing the challenge together, people in uniform doing the challenge, and even celebrities! The originality displayed by everyone who participated in the video made this challenge memorable.

This is why I find it difficult for this type of challenge to work this well again. The next non-profit that wants to do something as big as the #icebucketchallenge would have to look at the technique from a different angle, otherwise it would be a cliche. Using a different type of challenge in other seasons, or using a game, or maybe taking advantage of the selfie movement may make an equal impact. Also, making it a competition rather than a challenge may work to come up with funds for a non-profit organization. I have seen non-profits and other organizations use hashtags on Instagram to get some attention but unfortunately because they aren’t as funny or catchy, they don’t receive much spotlight.

To conclude, the plan was brilliant because it was easy, funny, and do-able! Everyone has a smart phone now-a-days that can record at any moment. Everyone wants to be a part of something big, everyone has $10, and everyone wants to help find a cure.

The CDC tried it’s best to keep America calm about the first Ebola case in the U.S.

On September 30, 2014 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the first diagnosed case of Ebola happened in the Lone-Star State. This news release was published 10  days after the person arrived in the United States, 7 days after the person felt ill,  5 days after the person sought medical care, and 2 days after finally being admitted into the hospital.

In brief the news release stated that Ebola raises concerns amongst our society but with prior experience with similar diseases that have threatened our society in the past decade our health care system should  be able to contain this infectious disease.

CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden said “Ebola can be scary. But there’s all the difference in the world between the U.S and parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading. The United States has a strong health care system and public health professionals who will make sure this case does not threaten our communities, while it is not impossible that there could be additional cases associated with this patient in the coming weeks, I have no doubt that we will contain this.”

 

What I captured from this statement was that Ebola, although seriously LIFE THREATENING, is not a huge deal. The CDC’s got this! American’s should not be too concerned, right? Sure there has been a case reported by ABCNews where a man thought to have died from Ebola wakes up, and sure the United States government has lay out a plan against zombies , but why should Ebola be driving American’s mildly crazy when there is ‘no doubt that we will contain this’?

Well, like me there are others who question the response of the CDC. Although I do not believe in any conspiracy that may say that Ebola is going to turn everyone into zombies, I do believe that the CDC could have done a better job at informing the American public about this disease.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that the news release was done quite well because it handled the situation carefully, as it should have, and it displayed how and and why this situation could be contained. As an American resident, I believe that the measures that can be done are being done and the release and videos provided by the CDC have given me this reassurance.

However, they could have published that there was a person whom had Ebola immediately after it was diagnosed. Although the news release was reported two days after the diagnosis, it was 2 days too late. Those two days took America by storm.